The Surftech Jailbreak Paddle Battle


Cali Rally Checkpoint #5
Capitola Pier
Capitola Pier, Capitola
Wednesday, July 15

"Mate, you said junior lifeguards!" exclaimed Reef's Paul Fisher upon spotting the Capitola Junior Lifeguards on a typically gray NorCal morning. "Those guys are huge!" he added.

Yes Paul, they were huge, mean, and threw tennis balls at you like Nolan Ryan.

I don't know what they're feeding junior lifeguards nowadays, but when we got to Capitola Pier for the final Cali Rally Checkpoint, I had this weird feeling of pity and sympathy for the boys because these "kids" were anything but junior.

Anyway, the theme of the challenge was to tie the teams together and have them paddle around the pier on Surftech longboards, hence the name, the Surftech Jailbreak Paddle Battle. One catch; the junior guards were given buckets of tennis balls and instructed to throw them at the teams as they raced. No big deal right? What's the worst that could happen with a bunch of kids throwing tennis balls? Total carnage that's what!

The first heat was the Analog team versus the Reef guys and it literally looked like December 7th at Pearl Harbor as tennis balls rained down upon the paddlers while they slowly made their way to the end of the pier. From all angles the Rally'ers were taking fire and at last count three of them had black eyes from getting beaned in the face.

The balls to the face weren't the only hazards as we used shoelaces to tie the teams together. "Someone cut me free!" yelled …Lost's Josh Stone as he lay on the ground while getting pulled from two different angles. Josh and his team were a tangled up mess as they struggled to get to their feet, attached and carrying nine-foot Surftech's. Then it got ugly as other teams rushed into the water to try and disrupt the race by tackling the opposition. It was basically a free for all and the teams nearly came to blows, but alas, the semi-controlled chaos that is the Cali Rally won out and we moved onto the final race with Analog going against …Lost for all the marbles.

For the final heat we decided not to tie the teams together, it was just too gnarly otherwise (and we were out of shoe strings). In the final race, the Analog team opened a can of whoop ass on the …Lost crew despite a Herculean effort by Kauai boy Dylan Melamed.

Congrats to all the teams for your heroic efforts in the 2009 Cali Rally, and as Johnny Craft said after the Surftech Jailbreak Paddle Battle regarding the death defying challenges and checkpoints, "Chris, you are an evil, evil person and I don't know what's going on in your head!" Thanks for not dying you guys, see you next year?

Big thanks to Duke from Surftech and Kim from the Capitola Junior Lifeguards for their efforts in making the Surftech Jailbreak Paddle Battle the most painful and hazardous checkpoint ever!

With the Cali Rally now over, it's all up to us, the judges, to see who will be crowned the 2009 Cali Rally Champions. We will make the announcement next Thursday so stay tuned. Thanks to all of our sponsors, too, without the help of Monster Energy, Casio Exilim Mobile, Sector 9, Hooters, Volcom, Surftech, Catch Surfboards, Electric Visual, Zinka, Ollie Pop Bubble Gum, Nixon, and Pac Sun the Cali Rally would not be possible!